those early-mid century Europeans not directly affected or eradicated by the plague were left behind in a murky fog of death and depression. the dwindling populace was left in a state of spiritual confusion. the artistic focus was suddenly switched to dramatic, almost morbid, religious views. at this time paintings, in a sense, introduced the idea of a broken (even sickly or dying) subject perhaps appearing starved or malnourished (maybe for spiritual fulfillment.) this encouraged a whole movement on religious and devotional imagery. we started seeing subjects, almost angelic in nature, emitting a glowing orb floating behind their heads. this "rebirth" of art (maybe dramatic and dark to us[maybe not]) gave hope to the hopeless at a time of chaotic, social distress.
at this time, we also notice an uprising of hospitals and a new found understanding of the necessity for health care. it would seem the Europeans discovered: what is life if you don't have your health?